Seeking new and innovative methods to cut expenses and expand into new markets has always been part of Sterling Real Estate Partners' (Sterling) investment strategy. So, when it came time to move forward on their first Arizona-based project, the Sterling Real Estate team decided to tap into the state’s most abundant natural resource and renovate an older apartment complex as a green housing alternative for socially-conscious tenants.
According to Sterling President David Zeff, adding solar was a no-brainer from when an ideal Arizona property was selected.
“Buying electricity is one of the biggest contributors to the monthly operating costs of any property. Reducing electricity consumption with our solar energy will immediately impact our bottom line while shielding the property from rising energy costs for decades.”
After thoroughly researching multiple California and Arizona-based solar companies, Zeff awarded the Radius Apartments project to Sun Valley Solar Solutions in June 2017.
“Sun Valley Solar was the only company that genuinely understood what we were trying to do and had the commercial experience to execute our plan,” explained Zeff. “They were exceptionally responsive and took the time to evaluate our property and provide multiple options for us to consider. Working with Sun Valley Solar was more about exploring solutions than listening to a sales pitch.”
Radius’ new solar energy system produces over 260,000 kilowatts of clean solar electricity annually, offsetting the CO2 emissions equivalent to 212,378 pounds of coal burned, or more than 474,000 miles driven in an average automobile. From a financial perspective, the system is forecasted to reduce Radius Apartments’ bill by more than 22 percent annually.
Zeff worked closely with Sun Valley Solar’s Anthony Santana throughout his solar journey. With Zeff admittedly new to the solar industry, Santana’s experience and thorough approach were a welcome relief from the typical “sales-first” approach offered by other providers.
“Anthony wasn’t pushing me in any single direction,” explained Zeff. “He took the time to evaluate our property fully and offered multiple approaches with a clear ROI analysis for each. He even covered tax incentives and accelerated depreciation benefits. That’s way beyond what most salespeople can cover. It was very impressive and appreciated.”
Known as Summerhill Apartments before the renovation, the older complex presented a few unique challenges when integrating a modern solar energy system. For example, it was revealed early on that an undersized service area might not have adequate space for solar inverters. However, Sun Valley Solar provided a creative solution that met code requirements while avoiding a costly service area expansion.
“Sun Valley’s experience was apparent from the beginning,” Zeff stated. “The team instilled a high degree of confidence through regular communication and innovative problem-solving. Working with Sun Valley Solar was easily the best experience I’ve had with a service provider.”
Adding solar to the property was the central component of a much larger green energy retrofit, including a sustainable roofing replacement from Azul Roofing Solutions, a full LED lighting retrofit, and new water conservation systems.
Based on the merits of the Radius Apartments project, Zeff and his company are already speaking with Sun Valley Solar about opportunities for other solar partnerships on future properties.
If you’re interested in learning how solar can help your business and its energy goals, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our commercial solar team member.